I began shooting Canon on a gripped 40D, and have rather big hands so I loved the way the grip added to the... er... gripability of the camera. I got my 5d Mk II in November and sold the 40D, and immediately missed the feeling of fullness the grip gave the camera. For me, holding any non 1 series canon cameras just feels like the bottom is missing, and is awkward. I was looking forward to getting the BG-E6, however I was laid off in December so put off the purchase for awhile.
I've been shooting a lot more recently, and decided I had to have a grip. I couldn't fork out the $250+ for the Canon grip, so I decided to take a shot with one of the Chinese brand grips. I ordered it off eBay for about $100 shipped - not bad for less than half the cost of the Canon. Shipping took about 2.5 weeks from china, and I just got it today. Here are my initial impressions.
Upon opening the box, you find simply the grip in Styrofoam packaging, some multi-language instructions (who needs this anyways, the grips are pretty straightforward ), and a warranty card.
As for the grip itself... Unfortunately, I haven't held my 40D and grip in about 6 months, so my memory might be a bit sketchy as to it's overall feel. Also, I have never seen the BG-E6 in person so I can't comment on it's overall build quality.
It looks nice and of course matches the camera perfectly - everything about it is an exact visual replica of the Canon brand, minus the label. Buttons are in the same place, same size, etc. However, upon close inpsection it is evident that the build quality is not quite up to par with the 40D Canon grip, and most likely the BG-E6. It feels a bit more plasticy and light than I remember. This is not a totally bad thing - it still feels solid and like it can get the job done. For the price point, I'm not complaining.
Some nitpicky things. The 40D shutter button, and 5D mark II shutter button, as most of you know, have totally different actions. The 5d has a welcoming softness to it as you depress it, whereas the 40D was much more of a "clicky" button. You could hear and feel more structured resistance as you depressed it, which some may like. This is how the Meike grip button is. You lightly press it down, and you can feel it stop halfway to focus, and then you continue on to another stop to take the picture. I'm not sure if the BG-E6 button is like the 5d or the 40D with regards to this - I'm sure someone could answer that, though. I don't mind it, however it's something to think about. It is definitely a noticeable difference going from the normal to vertical shooting on the grip.
Everything works perfectly - all 3 buttons on the reverse work great, it screws in assuringly, and the battery door release button slides nicely. On my model, the wheel that screws the grip into the camera is very movable up and down, however not side to side, so it won't accidentally unscrew or anything. You would never notice this in normal shooting - just trying to be thorough.
My biggest dislike (though minor) with the grip is the action of the wheel behind the shutter button. On the camera itself, it is very reassuring and each tick of the wheel is hard, loud, and evident. The wheel on the grip is a bit more recessed and not QUITE as loud and firm when each notch ticks. Again, nitpicky but noticable.
The front has a nice rubber texturized grip, though the battery door doesn't have this. I think on the BG-E6 (From pictures), the door is texturized but I could be wrong - maybe someone could fill in the comparisons later on between the two.
The electronics work perfectly, and the battery info is relayed to the camera. There is also a slot to store your battery door just like the Canon models. It also comes with a battery card/clip/whatever.
Overall, though it does have a more plasticky and light feeling than the body, a grip was a necessity for me and I"m more than happy with saving $150 dollars over the Canon grip - hell, if it breaks I can buy one - almost two- more. I've heard good things about them though, so I'm expecting perfect functionality. If anything happens, I'll update! But for now, if you want a grip and don't want to splurge on the Canon one I wouldn't hesitate to order one off of eBay for $100 or so. If you guys want some pictures lemme know, but it looks just as advertised!